Kingsway Super Cinema

266 Moseley Road,
Manchester, M19 2LH

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Ambassador Circuit, Associated British Cinemas Ltd., Snape & Ward Circuit, Union Cinema Co. Ltd.

Architects: John Knight

Styles: Art Deco

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Kingsway Super Cinema

Located in the south Manchester suburb of Levenshulme, on Moseley Road at the corner of Kingsway and Fortuna Grove. The Kingsway Super Cinema was opened on 14th March 1929 with Dolores Costello in “Glorious Betsy” and Cara Bow in “Red Hair”. Built for the Ambassador Circuit it was soon operated by the Read, Snape & Ward circuit, in 1932 architect John Knight was employed to make alterations and to redecorate the cinema. It was taken over by the Union Cinemas chain from 24th February 1936. Union Cinemas were taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) in October 1937.

The Kingsway Super Cinema was an impressive building at a major intersection. It had a highly decorative white tile facade around its corner entrance. Inside the auditorium the seating was located in stalls and circle levels. The proscenium was 42 feet wide and the stage 16 feet deep. There were six dressing rooms. There was a Jardine organ (billed at opening as the ‘Rex/Gloria Organ’), which was re-built by the Compton Organ Co. in 1937. The cinema also had a cafe attached, for the convenience of patrons.

The ABC chain continued to operate the Kingsway Super Cinema until the night of 26th June 1957, when after the evening performance of “Tammy” and “Appointment with a Shadow”, it was badly damaged by a fire. It never re-opened, and the building was used as a storage facility for ABC Cinemas for many years. It was demolished in the early-1970’s. A small office block named Apex House was built on the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 24, 2010 at 3:20 pm

A vintage photograph of the Kingsway Picture House, around the time of its opening in 1929:
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Stephen Lynch
Stephen Lynch on September 18, 2023 at 1:24 am

@Ken Roe The cinema was built for the Read, Snape, and Ward Circuit and the original build design was John Knight as well. The interior bears a remarkable resemblance to Salford’s Ambassador in much of the details of the plasterwork and other finishings.

An interesting detail is that when Fred Read died in 1933, John Maxwell the chair of the ABC circuit bought up his shares and was co-opted onto the board of the now Snape and Ward Circuit. They sold the Kingsway to Union Cinemas in 1936 and then a year later ABC took over Union Cinemas. I suspect Maxwell wanted to take over Snape and Ward but Alfred Snape was adamant it was not happening and in the Kinematograph Weekly - Thursday 31 May 1934 Alfred Snape announced Maxwell joining the board and at the same time scotched any rumors of an ABC takeover.

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